The National Association of Counties has started a process of outreach and engagement to examine and refine the association’s role in county technology decisions and innovation.
Rita Reynolds, NACo’s new CTO, detailed the effort during a meeting at the National Association of Counties Annual Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas this week. Until recently, Reynolds had long served as the CIO of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania.
The strategy is in draft form right now and is expected to be finalized by the end of 2019. Its vision and mission align with NACo’s overall vision as an organization, Reynolds said, and its aim is to strengthen America’s county technology infrastructure and service delivery. Reynolds stressed that it is very early in the process, which will be a multiyear endeavor.
The first focus group for the plan was held June 5-7 in Warren County, N.Y., with more than 30 attendees including county CIOs, IT directors, the chair of NACo’s IT Standing Committee, the NACo executive board, NACo staff and state association representatives.
NACo to Reach Out to a Wide Range of IT Stakeholders
As part of the effort, Reynolds and her team want to engage with NACo members to “develop a strong and interactive communication platform for county CIOs,” according to Reynolds’s presentation. Currently, there is not a nationwide network opportunity for county CIOs to connect, communicate, share ideas and solve problems together, she said.
Potential objectives of the outreach include creating a collaboration platform for county CIOs and IT directors to network, identifying elected officials with technology interest and expertise, exploring the creation of a NACO Technology Advisory Council, and developing a membership portal of resources.
The effort also invokes vendor engagement, with the goal of growing the vendor community and corporate partners that will be key to helping counties address their IT needs. Potentially, this may involve developing a process for engagement with tech vendors to gain knowledge about their products and services that could benefit county governments.
NACo plans to also work with academia and will work to identify and develop a process for academic involvement in serving educational and tech needs for counties. This may involve meeting with universities to get knowledge of their expertise and opportunities for counties to work with them, as well as developing the process for creating a menu of education technology options for counties.
Additionally, NACo plans to work with existing IT associations to support county tech needs and initiatives. NACo will potentially work with such associations to create a better understanding of the tech programming, services and educational opportunities for county IT leadership. NACO will also work to strengthen relationships with existing law firms that provide technology-related services.
The next steps for the technology strategy include sharing an executive summary with CIOs from the first focus group, refining the document by adding phases, timeframes and costs to implement each objective, and getting more feedback on the document. The draft will be further refined in August, and NACo may hold more focus groups in the west by the end of September. The goal is for NACo’s executive board to finalize the strategy in December.
Follow StateTech magazine's coverage of NACo’s 2019 conference at our conference landing page.